China Ranks Top 19 in Countries Where Christians Face the Worst Persecution Worldwide: Open Doors

A map of the 2024 World Watch List compiled by Open Doors
A map of the 2024 World Watch List compiled by Open Doors (photo: Open Doors)
By Anthony LeeJanuary 19th, 2024

Open Doors launched its World Watch List 2024 on Wednesday, where China ranks 19th among the 50 countries where Christians are most persecuted.

More than 365 million Christians suffered high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith, according to Open Doors’ 2024 World Watch List (WWL). At least 4,998 Christians were murdered, 14,766 churches and Christian properties were attacked, and 4,125 Christians were detained. The list indicates worsening persecution across the world, intense violence in sub-Saharan Africa, more churches under attack, and more Christians forced from their homes. The WWL 2024 reporting period was from October 1, 2022, to September 30, 2023.

Ranked No. 16 last year, China has seen more church shutdowns, new religious regulations, and growing digital surveillance over the past year. 

“Over the last five years, the situation in China has slowly and steadily deteriorated, and the 2024 World Watch List reporting period was no exception. While violence against believers remained rare, church closures and raids continued to happen, with pressure across all parts of life steadily rising,” the report of the global religious persecution watchdog said.

“At least 10,000 churches closed in China in 2023. Most were house churches, but official churches are under pressure too.”

“New regulations mean churches must display signs reading, ‘Love the Communist Party, love the country, love the religion.’ Digital surveillance is growing, with Christians in one province required to register on a state-controlled app before attending church services.”

“Parents are increasingly concerned about raising their children in the faith, as attending church is illegal for anyone under 18.”

The report also mentioned that there were cases against Christians “because of ‘illegal business operations’ or ‘fraud’.”

North Korea continues to top the list, as believers will face a death sentence if discovered by the authorities. The top 10 countries include Somalia, Libya, Eritrea, Yemen, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sudan, Iran, and Afghanistan.

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